I’d argue time is your most valuable and limited resource.

You only have so much of it and you have to decide at all times how you are going to allocate it to meet the needs of others and accomplish your own desires.

In my experience, time - just ahead of money - is the single most cited reason why someone can’t workout regularly.

I’m not knocking those individuals either.

It’s a perfectly legitimate excuse.

I get it first-hand.

I’m a dad, coach, full-time employee, son, husband, friend, aspiring entrepreneur, and interested in all sorts of different hobbies.

I’m sure you could same something similar.

But we are not much if we don’t have our health.

Our good health allows us to fill all those roles and do the things we want to do.

We have to give some priority to our health because maintaining and improving our health will give way to fulfillment and satisfaction in other areas of our lives.

I’m sure at this point you are waiting for me to say something like, “that is why we have to MAKE time for it.”

But that really isn’t helpful.

Instead I’d like to share some actual strategies that might help you make time for exercise or at least create workouts that fit into the amount of time you have available, but are still effective enough to accomplish your goals.

However the quality of these strategies is held up by one underlying assumption.

That is you have at least 30 minutes at a time to workout.

I know it’s a half an hour, but I’ve found that trying to shorten a dedicated workout anymore just doesn’t produce much benefit.

1. Circuits

This is by far the easiest and simplest way to create workouts that are considerate of your time, but still allow you to get a lot done.

The reason being that you essentially take all the rest time that you would take throughout a given workout and consolidate it into much fewer periods of slightly longer length.

For example if your workout normally looked like this. . .

Barbell Bench Press x 10 reps
Rest 60 seconds
Barbell Bench Press x 10 reps
Rest 60 seconds
Barbell Bench Press x 10 reps
Rest 60 seconds
Barbell Bench Press x 10 reps
Rest 60 seconds
DB Goblet Squat x 12 reps
Rest 60 seconds
DB Goblet Squat x 12 reps
Rest 60 seconds
DB Goblet Squat x 12 reps
Rest 60 seconds
Reverse Grip Barbell Row x 8 reps
Rest 60 seconds
Reverse Grip Barbell Row x 8 reps
Rest 60 seconds
Reverse Grip Barbell Row x 8 reps
Rest 60 seconds
Reverse Grip Barbell Row x 8 reps

Applying circuit training would make them look like this. . .

Barbell Bench Press x 10 reps
DB Goblet Squat x 12 reps
Reverse Grip Barbell Row x 8 reps
Rest 90 seconds
Barbell Bench Press x 10 reps
DB Goblet Squat x 12 reps
Reverse Grip Barbell Row x 8 reps
Rest 90 seconds
Barbell Bench Press x 10 reps
DB Goblet Squat x 12 reps
Reverse Grip Barbell Row x 8 reps
Rest 90 seconds
Barbell Bench Press x 10 reps

As you can see with the use of circuit training you go from taking a total of 10 minutes to 4.5 minutes.

Granted the training effects of these two workouts is going to be slightly different.

Applying circuit training to your workouts are going to place a larger demand on your cardio and will likely force you to use lighter weights than you would in the straight set workout, but remember you are strapped for time so optimal is not the goal here.

The goal is being able to fit a great workout in that will continue to move you towards your goals within the time you have for it

Circuits accomplish this goal.

2. Supersets

If you are new to working out then this probably sounds unfamiliar, but if you are long time gym-goer than you likely have heard this term used.

You can link of a Superset almost as a mini circuit that consist of only two exercises.

In essence you do a set of an exercise immediately followed by a set of another exercise waiting to rest after you have completed the set of the second exercise.

There are lots of ways you can use this technique, but when using it to save time in your workouts it’s best to link of supersets as pairing opposing movements that work muscle groups that don’t directly compete with one another.

For example the following superset would be a good option:

Barbell Bent Over Row x 12 reps
Dumbbell Overhead Press x 8 reps
Rest 60 seconds

The impact of a superset is much the same as circuit training.

It consolidates your rest time, but the benefit of scaling down to just two exercises allows you to focus a bit more on the intensity of each exercise and reduce the challenge it places on your cardio.

3. “Cardioacceleration”

I full on stole that term from Jim Stoppani so all credit for it goes to him.

The idea however isn’t quite as novel, but it is super efficient.

This technique is basically the same thing as a superset only you are limiting yourself to pairing a strength or resistance training exercise with an exercise that is more cardiovascular and metabolically demanding.

For example you might do the following:

Bodyweight Push-ups x 15 reps
Jump Rope x 60 seconds
Rest 60 seconds

The added benefit of this technique is not only - like with circuits and supersets - do you consolidate your rest time, but you also accomplish two portions of your workouts at the same time - strength training and cardio.

This saves you time from having to do them in two separate segments in your workout or in separate sessions all together.

Beware though it is quite a challenging technique in execution.

These are just three strategies for reducing the length of your workouts, but they are the ones I find most useful myself and with clients.

My hope is that you’ll be able to use them to increase the likelihood of making a workout happen on a more regular basis and allow fitness to fit into your life.

Happy moving and heavy lifting!

Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training